They came swooping down in a convoy of five unmarked cars, one with flashing red lights. They kicked in the door of a rundown trailer house and drew weapons while yelling, “Police!” The Arizona Republic reports that the invaders “were no more real police than Joe Friday.”
Quickly, the voice of real law enforcement agents and the sudden flood of tear gas surprised the police-impersonating home-invasion gang, which was caught in the act in Phoenix this week.
The real police got the phonies on videotape in a carefully planned and heavily equipped sting aimed at busting a ring of home-invading robbers who for four years are believed to have ripped off drug dealers in the Tucson and Phoenix areas. About 45 officers led by the Arizona Department of Public Safety used five armored vehicles, two robots, snipers hidden in foxholes and on a neighbor’s roof, and helicopters from several agencies to snare nine suspects.
The operation capped a three-month, multiagency undercover operation. Police selected a vacant trailer home and set up a mock stash house, a place where dealers hold drugs for distribution.